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tonyv

We Were Rockers

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tonyv

It all started when I was about 12 years old. A new radio station came on the air from Providence, Rhode Island. (I lived about 45 minutes away, in Massachusetts.) This new radio station played hard rock music and heavy metal. It would also sponsor concerts in the area.

One time, a band called Blue Oyster Cult came to play a concert at an amusement park in Warwick, Rhode Island. I really wanted to go see these guys play "Burnin' for You" and "The Reaper," but I was still too young; neither I nor my friends had cars or even drove yet. However, there was one time when my favorite band Rush was scheduled to play in Providence, and my father got me a ticket to the show. He also hooked me up with a ride to the concert with some responsible students from the high school where he taught. I went with these guys to the Providence Civic Center and watched this band rock. That was really cool of my father.

We had a classical guitar at home (don't know where my father got it), and I started to learn how to play it from some books he had. When my parents saw that I was practicing a lot, and that I was really into it, they paid for me to take some weekly lessons. They also bought me an electric guitar and amplifier ... like I wanted.

The lessons were really a fun thing for me. Each week, I would take a cassette tape of a song by one of my favorite metal bands and say to the teacher, "I wanna play this." The teacher would listen to the song, pick up on how to play it (in about five minutes) and show me the basic guitar patterns and riffs.

The other part of lessons that was fun was just going to them. It was something to do on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon or evening. (Whichever day of the week it was, I don't remember, but it changed once in awhile to fit our schedules.) I was starting to learn how to drive, and though I wasn't licensed, I had a learner's permit that allowed me to drive with a licensed driver. My mom and I would go to the lesson, which was in a nearby city, and I would drive. Afterwards (probably around five or six pm), we would stop at Burger King for some supper and then at the grocery store, so my mom could get the food for the household. Eventually, it got to the point where I could do what the teacher was doing -- listen to the music and pick up the guitar parts of the song -- and, since I wasn't really advancing beyond that point, I stopped going to the lessons. But it really was a nice thing while it lasted: lessons, driving, time spent with mom, and Burger King.

Soon, I met some other guys who played guitar, bass, drums, and did vocals. We decided to form a band. By then, I had my driver's license and had taken over one of the family cars (kind of claimed it as my own), and I would go to one friend's house where we would practice after school. His parents were off working some jobs (probably doing something lame, like I do now), and it was cool that we were able to use their basement to rehearse. Yea, our hair was long but not ridiculous. We had metal from the UK and metal from the USA, and we played it all. We were LOUD. It's amazing the neighbors didn't call the police, but they were probably all at work, too.

One time we played a concert at a local church hall that had dances for the kids (though I think it was a different band by then). Ususally, they had some DJ playing music, but this time it was us that rocked the house. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Rush, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Cinderella -- we played it all, baby! The girls thought we were great, and we felt like Bon Jovi must have felt when it rocked Moscow during the Cold War. It was glorious.

I guess we all did other normal stuff, too, like played sports, swam in the nearby clay pit of an abandoned brick factory, and went on dates with girls. I probably had some part-time job by then, too.

I don't know what happened to the music, or to the dream, or even to the other guys. I wrote this poem recently and posted it on a poetry site where I participate. Here's the poem:

 

rockypointresize2-1.jpg

 

That was the decade when we had it all

loving life

like muchachas at quinceañeras

------------------------------------------             dreaming
of Nueva Casas Grandes

 

It was all Corvettes and discotheques

until the Alhambra became a motel

 

We didn't know you were in jail then

had never even heard of cancer or Somalia

 

We had the beach

and it was one long summer in the sun

________________________________________________

Rocky Point Amusement Park

Quinceanera

Nueva Casas Grandes literally translated, Casas Grandes means "huge houses"
or "mansions" and
nueva means "new"
(not sure whether there are really any new mansions there).

 

For me, the poem kind of epitomizes my life while growing up. I didn't have a Corvette, or listen to disco (although I enjoy it now), but the poem makes me look at my life and remember certain things that were good. Rock on.


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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goldenlangur

Hi Tony,

 

What a vivid account of an important stage of your growing up! I like the way you use music to center the narrative and also to suggest time - a marker of how interests and life changed.

 

 

The details about your father getting you tickets for a concert and arranging transport and then of your mother accompanying you to your guitar lessons - letting you hone your music and driving skills, the "Burger King" suppers - are wonderful touches which draw out the warmth and affection.

 

 

I also enjoyed the description of your band performing in the Church and driving the local girls wild! Oh! the exuberance of youth when all things seems possible!

 

I wish you would extend this with some details of the landscape and your neighborhood - would love to know how it all looked and felt.

 

The poem is quite poignant and shows the shift in time and perceptions very well.

 

 

Thank-you for a fascinating read.

 

 

goldenlangur


goldenlangur

 

 

Even a single enemy is too many and a thousand friends too few - Bhutanese saying.

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Aleksandra

Ahhhhh Tony. What a wonderful story. I didn't knew how good you are in prose. I am surprised how good is this.

So thats why now you live in Rhode Island icon_biggrin.png because of the past. icon_razz.gif

Few parts made me smile icon_smile.gif as this one:

Yea, our hair was long but not ridiculous

icon_biggrin.png ahh I can imagine you Tony, and I am sure you looked so cute like that. And it is so nice to read about all these information what you share into the story. And all of that makes this story so nostalgic, including that poem too, because it is talking about some nice period in the past, when all was different and you was younger too. So now probably you say the most used words: ahh if I can get back my early youths icon_razz.gif

I love to watch you playing the guitar, and also you can share some photos as GL asked too, but share some with the guitar , because I know you keep it still.

 

Thank you so much for this wonderful prose. Much enjoyed with reading. And I am getting hungry for more to read. I hope you will share more from your treasures.

 

Well done Tony dear icon_cheers.png

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Aleksandra

Ah Tony, how good you look like this icon_smile.gif. But there is no more long hair etc icon_razz.gif

But anyway I love this photo. Thank you so much for sharing what I asked icon_wink.gif

 

I wait your sound

 

Thank you icon_smile.gif

 

Aleksandra


The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia

 

 

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Tinker

I have read this a couple of times Tony. It took me back to my teens, no I never played in a band, but my brother did, he is a drummer. The group was called the Rotations and they played all over the bay area at teen dances. I went along to gigs and danced. The lead guitarist would come down and we would put on a dance exhibition. Frank and I also would go to clubs across the bay in San Francisco and dance in clubs where they had dance competitions, we actually won money. It was a great time.

 

Often Doug Clifford, who lived two houses up from ours would come and jam with the guys, as would Tommy and John Fogarty from Doug's band, the Blue Velvets. The house would vibrate. Doug and I were pretty close there for a while, and Tommy ended up marrying one of my good friends after high school. Maybe you recognize a name in that group, they went on to become Credance Clearwater Revival.

 

My brother still plays drums with a small jazz group that get together once in a while. But, the death of Frank, my dance partner and the lead guitar of the Rotations, ended the run pf the Rotations. He was killed a week before my wedding and Frank's father insisted the band play at my wedding anyway. Tommy and John stepped in for Frank. John Fogarty sang at my wedding, but I would have rather had Frank. It was a bitter sweet moment.

 

~~Tink


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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tonyv
I have read this a couple of times Tony. It took me back to my teens, no I never played in a band, but my brother did, he is a drummer. The group was called the Rotations and they played all over the bay area at teen dances. I went along to gigs and danced. The lead guitarist would come down and we would put on a dance exhibition. Frank and I also would go to clubs across the bay in San Francisco and dance in clubs where they had dance competitions, we actually won money. It was a great time.

 

Often Doug Clifford, who lived two houses up from ours would come and jam with the guys, as would Tommy and John Fogarty from Doug's band, the Blue Velvets. The house would vibrate. Doug and I were pretty close there for a while, and Tommy ended up marrying one of my good friends after high school. Maybe you recognize a name in that group, they went on to become Credance Clearwater Revival.

 

My brother still plays drums with a small jazz group that get together once in a while. But, the death of Frank, my dance partner and the lead guitar of the Rotations, ended the run pf the Rotations. He was killed a week before my wedding and Frank's father insisted the band play at my wedding anyway. Tommy and John stepped in for Frank. John Fogarty sang at my wedding, but I would have rather had Frank. It was a bitter sweet moment.

 

~~Tink

 

Very interesting, Tinker! And sure, I recognize CCR and Fogarty -- both are icons of classic rock.

 

I'm very impressed that Fogarty played at your wedding, but I'm also sorry about your friend Frank. Thank you for reading, and for your fascinating reply to my prose piece!

 

Tony


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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pawn shop

Bryan Adams....'summer of 69' comes to mind.

 

Very fun read.

I wish you wrote more like this........so much emotion and clarity....without all the adjectives and over-descriptions......

I was a rocker also.....infact, that was my knickname in high school ' the rocker '.

Played a Gison Les Paul.....cherry sunburst......deluxe.......but could never play Maiden........ icon_pirat.png

 

Now have a 12 string...aucoustic.......play my own stuff......Godly type of songs of praise.......... icon_cheers.png

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tonyv
Bryan Adams....'summer of 69' comes to mind.

 

Very fun read.

I wish you wrote more like this........so much emotion and clarity....without all the adjectives and over-descriptions......

I was a rocker also.....infact, that was my knickname in high school ' the rocker '.

Played a Gison Les Paul.....cherry sunburst......deluxe.......but could never play Maiden........ icon_pirat.png

 

Now have a 12 string...aucoustic.......play my own stuff......Godly type of songs of praise.......... icon_cheers.png

Thanks for your kind words, pawn shop. The Les Paul I'm holding in the pic (if you scroll up) is a Standard -- 1985 model year. I got it used in January of 1986, so it was no more than a year old.

 

Tony icon_cool.gif


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Wistful Poet

Sweet story Tony!


"If you are faced with a dissappointment or a bad situation ask, will it matter in 10 years?

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

hi tony.

 

i loved this story. we get an excellent detailed story about you, it is eye candy to read this story. what a treat. you did well with this one. since it is based on fact it only makes it an even more pleasing work to read. thanks for the glimpse into your life tony.

 

vic icon_smile.gif

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Lake

Tony,

 

Usually I avoid reading prose since I'm a slow reader and the long prose will make me loose my patience. But hey, this one really hooked me from the beginning to the end. What a warm feel reading this! Everything sounds so real and fun. Even though I didn't play musical instrument, this piece really aroused my reminiscence of the things I did in my youth.

 

I really appreciate your parents' understanding of and support to your interest, especially your own "into it", that really makes a big difference! And your performance, what a feel of accomplishment!

 

Enjoyed thoroughly,

 

Lake

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tonyv

Hi Lake,

 

I usually avoid prose, too, but my appreciation for the possibilities inherent in prose has received a boost after having read the fine, short prose and haibun contributed by the members on this site. I'm glad you were able to connect, and that this one took you back in some way.

 

Tony icon_smile.gif


Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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